Changes on stage, in class: Q&A with Ms. Sarah Garvey, Aves Theatre co-director

What has changed between last year and this year in regards to acting classes?

Ms. Sarah Garvey, Aves Theatre director, drills a screw into a plywood contraption. She participates in the work of her theatre students on a daily basis, especially during the Technical Theater portion of their curriculum, in which students are certified and work with such tools such as drills, saws and electric staplers.  With the change in the classes to a more equal state, the work of the students now depends on their performance dates, not necessarily on their experience levels. Photo courtesy of Tori Swart
Ms. Sarah Garvey, Aves Theatre director, drills a screw into a plywood contraption. She participates in the work of her theatre students on a daily basis, especially during the Technical Theater portion of their curriculum, in which students are certified and work with such tools such as drills, saws and electric staplers.With the change in the classes to a more equal state, the work of the students now depends on their performance dates, not necessarily on their experience levels. Photo courtesy of Tori Swart

We have moved our classes from a hierarchical arrangement to a more even arrangement. In the past, there was a top class, a “work your way up” type of idea.

This year, we’re having two classes that are at the same level in terms of instruction. Each of those classes has an extracurricular show.

In the past, it was only the “top class” that performed outside of school. Also, each class  has a mix of sophomores, juniors and seniors, a change from before when people of generally the same ages were in the same class.

Why did you and Mr. John Whapham, Aves Theatre co-director, change the layout of the classes?

We wanted to give more people opportunities for success in this program. By having two classroom environments, everyone would get the detailed instruction they need. By having two shows, people would get more opportunities to perform.

How has your instruction changed?

The biggest change in instruction is considering what people have already learned because some students have already had a lot of experience, while others have not.

It’s the challenge of helping the newer students learn the basics, while keeping the information new and interesting for the veterans.

What was the audition process like? In what way was it different from previous years?

We had students audition for the theatre at the end of last year, and then we had the audition for roles at the beginning of this year.

We’ve always auditioned for the ensembles, but in the most recent audition, everyone had to sing as well as perform monologues.

How did you choose students to be in one class or the other?

We chose people that we thought were going to work well together and come together to make an effective show. We had to consider what the people could bring the production as well as the class itself.

Will it always be “the musical class” and “the play class”?

The idea of having a “musical” and a “play” class was not necessarily the goal for our choices, but if it goes well this year, than it may be a good model to follow for upcoming years.

What is your opinion on this change?

I think it’s a great chance for people to work with other people of different grade levels and experiences.

It provides a challenge for me to keep instruction interesting, and it provides a challenge for all members of the class to meet new people and work together.

Putting together a production in class also provides a great opportunity to work with one another in a unique way.